CALLIMACHUS. Υμνοι μετα των σχολιων… Hymni, cum scholiis nunc primum aeditis. Sententiae ex diversis poetis oratoribusque ac philosophis collectae, non ante excusae. Basel: Froben, 1532
4to (206 x 148mm.), woodcut printer’s device on title-page and final verso (otherwise blank), text in Greek, woodcut initials and headpieces, eighteenth-century red crushed morocco, single gilt fillet border, green morocco lettering-piece, yellow edges; marbled endpapers
An attractive copy of Callimachus’ ‘Hymns’ and ‘Sentences’, a much more complete and correct edition than any previous publications, including that of the Aldine of 1513 which copied the first Florentine copy of c.1494. Callimachus (c.310 – c.240 BC) was a Greek poet, scholar and librarian of the Library of Alexandria, where he carried out a bibliographical survey of the holdings, famously known as Pinakes. His poetry output is varied, including epigrams, iambic poetry and victory odes, as well as the hymns to the gods present in this work. This edition was revised by the Czech humanist Sigismund Gelenius (1497 – 1554), who filled in some of the previous publications’ omissions. According to Brunet, it is the most esteemed edition by scholars, not due to its deluxe nature or its looming reputation for rarity, but as a work of quality for those who “prize above all the real merit of a book” (Brunet I 1479). This edition was counterfeited in 1549 (Paris, apud Vascosanum).
Only two copies in the US (The Morgan Library and Chicago University Library). Graesse II 17; BMSTC German 174; Brunet I 1479; USTC 669641
“Colleg. [–] catal. inscript.”, washed inscription at head of title-page; William Wentworth, 2nd Lord Fitzwilliam (1748-1833), of Milton Park, printed label “Milton, Peterborough”; John Alfred Spranger (1889-1968), Trinity College Cambridge, armorial bookplate, sale, Sotheby’s, 21 November 1989, lot 15.
The 1989 catalogue suggests that this copy also belonged to the Rev. Thomas Crofts (1722-1781), as it is in his style of binding but without his initials (see De Ricci, English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts, p.56). His library, particularly rich in Italian books, was sold in April 1783 and a copy of this 1532 Callimachus was lot 1699, “nitidiss. in cor. turc.”.